Planning

Don’t forget to make room early on for choosing and hiring a destination wedding photographer in your planning process.  Other parts of your wedding planning will influence and determine the photographer you end up hiring, and vice versa.  While planning for your destination wedding photographer, follow these tips:

-If you are getting married in a foreign country, check the country’s permit requirements for bringing an outside photographer.  Some countries don’t require permits, while others will require permits that take months to process.  Plan ahead.

-Before signing any contracts, check the policies of your wedding venue for hiring outside vendors, or make sure your wedding coordinator does this.  Some venues, such as resort venues, will not allow outside photographers or ask you to use their on-site, staff photographer.  While many on-site photographers are excellent, keep in mind that vetting them is not always an option and using them may incur extra fees.

-If you decide to hire a photographer who lives near your wedding site, it is a good idea to ask for referrals from others who have had weddings at that same destination.  Check wedding community websites and message boards, and use your social media connections.  Use the photographer’s website and portfolio to vet them before setting up interviews – if the photographer has a well designed, professional website, there is a good chance they are an organized professional to work with.  Finally set up phone interviews, or if possible skype interviews, and make sure to check their references!

-In consultation with your wedding coordinator and venues, decide on the lighting design of your ceremony and reception.  The lighting design is a great way to add a subtle or dramatic touch to both your wedding atmosphere and your wedding photos.

-Schedule the timing of your ceremony and portraits in accordance with your location.  Consider both weather conditions and time of day.  Many tropical destination that are close to the equator have shorter days and earlier sun sets.  For these types of locations, a late afternoon ceremony is generally the best if you want to achieve both daytime images and the more dramatic lighting that evening photo shoots provide.

Choosing

When choosing a destination wedding photographer, the first thing most people think about is visual style.  Sometimes people just “know” what they want in terms of visual style, and other times they aren’t quite sure but may know it when they see it.  Either way, when browsing a potential photographer’s portfolio, it’s important to consider these things:

-Subject Matter: What subject matter does the photographer tend to focus on?  Does he or she focus on tender and happy moments, or are their images more ceremonial?  Do they capture a lot of facial expressions or are they full of action?  Do they focus on smaller details or the larger picture?  Is there an emphasis on candid shots or posed images? You’ll want to make sure that their subject matter focus is in line with your own.

-Composition: Different compositions highlight different types of actions and emotions.  There should be a variety of compositions, from close-ups to far-away shots, and everything in between.  Also, the compositions should underscore what’s going on in the image, and make use of the environment.  After all, you chose to get married at a special location, and that location should show through in your wedding pictures!

-Creativity:  Does the photographer’s images demonstrate unique or creative perspectives?  Sometimes the most unexpected images are the ones we remember and cherish most.  Did the photographer capture small details others might remember but not think to capture, such as the details of the bride’s hair or a special flower arrangement?  Did they make creative/dramatic use of and incorporate the venue environment in their images?

-Overall Image Quality:  Does the photographer demonstrate competence with light, color, contrast, and depth of field?  Are subjects well lit and do colors pop in their images?

Hiring

Once you determine that the photographer’s visual style is what you want, then it’s important to go over and confirm all logistics with them before hiring, including dates, times, venue details, and lighting design.  They should know what to expect in terms of time of day, lighting conditions and the size and structure of the venue.  If you are hiring your own outside photographer, confirm all travel details.  If you are hiring an on-site photographer, you may want to request a venue scouting before the ceremony and reception, so that the photographer can plan their shoot more effectively.

Also, because destination weddings often last longer than a day, you should consider scheduling and hiring your photographer for other shoots as well, such as at your rehearsal dinner, on the beach, or at a famous landmark at your special location.  Just make sure that photography is allowed at those places beforehand!

Finally, nail down all the service and post-production logistics, including payment policies, dissemination of proofs, the prints and reprints ordering process, time frames for proofs processing and image selection, and any offered guarantees.  Many destination wedding photographers will have these details outlined on their websites or in the product and service packages that they offer.

Posted by admin on 09/08/11

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